Young bear gets second chance after surgery

Posted at: 07/01/2013 10:41 PM
By: Nicole Brady, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Passed out, tongue hanging out of her mouth, missing the fur on a good chunk of her body. An 18 month old bear, nicknamed "Little Foot", just came out of surgery Monday evening at the VCA hospital in Albuquerque.

Dr. Kathleen Ramsay takes bears in at her home in Espanola. When Little Foot came in last week she noticed her broken leg wasn't healing properly . “It was trying to heal with it completely crooked and out of alignment so she would never have been able to go back in the wild,” Dr. Ramsay said.

Too many bears have been coming out of the mountains this season.  The drought is to blame. There's not enough food. The littlest bears, driven out by the bigger ones.

“As the youngsters are coming on board, mom is going to kick them away when they're about 18 months, tell them they're on their own, the conditions are very poor, they're having to stay on the outskirts of the big bears territories,” Dr. Ramsay said.

The young bears  follow the arroyos , and that's how they frequently end up in backyards near the foothills.  In Little Foot's case, she ended up near Bernalillo High School.  Injured, but lucky because hopefully as she wakes up from surgery she'll go home and start packing on the pounds and eventually go back to the wild.

Little Foot only weighs about 47 pounds right now. They hope to get her up to 120 before releasing her back into the wild this fall.